Alibaba’s Ant Financial To Track Rice Quality ‘From Farm to Table’ With Blockchain

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has partnered with the municipal government of the Chinese city, Wuchang, to use a consortium blockchain for tracking and authenticating the locally grown rice, an effort to combat the deep-rooted problem of food fraud in China.

Wuchang City which is located in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province is famous for its rice of high quality and natural fragrance. Over the past years, however, some unscrupulous producers added plastic, potatoes and sweet potatoes to make rice and distributed it under the name of “ Wuchang Rice”.The growing scandals have dented Wuchang rice’s reputation. Therefore, the government has decided to turn to emerging technologies like blockchain and IoT for help.

Starting from September 30, every bag of Wuchang rice sold by its flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform will be given a unique identification code. Consumers are able to obtain information about the rice, including rice’s origin, which type of seed and fertilizer was used , the packaging and transportation process, through scanning this code using Alipay app.

A decentralized and distributed network will be deployed among participating nodes including  Wuchang rice producers, Wuchang’s Bureau of Quality and Technology Supervision, Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao and the Tmall platform. The nodes will record the data which is immutable and traceable so that any counterfeit products can be easily spotted.

The blockchain-based solution will not only ensure the the quality of the rice from “field to table”, but also can shorten the delivery time from original 3-7 days down to under two days.

Ant Financial said it expects to unveil its own its Blockchain-as-a-Service platform in September and open up its blockchain services for more enterprises.

This is not the first time for Alibaba to leverage blockchain to tackle food frauds. In March 2017, the tech giant teamed up with Australian healthcare firm Blockmores and New Zealand dairy product maker Fonterra to combat fake food in China using blockchain technology.

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